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whentaniatalks: Beginners’ Guide To Buying A DSLR – Accessories

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Beginners’ Guide To Buying A DSLR – Accessories

Hi Everyone! 

I am by no means an expert on photography or cameras, but I know an awful lot of questions get asked about what the best camera to buy is. I have just purchased my first (& I’m hoping my only) DSLR, so I thought I’d share my experience with you!

To avoid you all having to read an essay, I thought I’d separate this subject into four posts; ‘Things To Consider’, ‘Where to buy’, ‘My Thoughts On My Camera’ & ‘Accessories’.

Today I want to focus on camera accessories. Deciding which accessories to purchase & when is a very personal decision, so I’m going to talk you through what I chose & why.

One of the things I hadn’t been able to post about before getting my camera was fashion. The reason for this is that the only person available to take photos was my husband, who really had no interest in taking photos of me in one outfit, let alone multiple ones! I would get one photo, two if lucky & three if I pushed my luck. They never ended up how I wanted them as I was a little on edge, knowing he didn’t want to be involved. In all fairness to him, he is a very busy man, working incredibly hard & his focus was elsewhere. I wanted to change this for both of us. I also wanted to be able to use my camera to film videos for my YouTube channel. While my point & shoot worked stood on a chair on it’s table top stand, it meant I was sat on the floor each time I filmed. I usually film two videos at a time to take advantage of being well enough to & occasionally film three! Sitting on the floor is less than ideal for me with the way in which my EDS affects my hips, so the first thing on my list was a tripod. I wanted one that, while lightweight & easy to transport, was stable & durable. I chose the Manfrotto Befree Compact Lightweight Tripod.

I’d seen a few fashion bloggers talking about how handy they found a remote control for taking their fashion photos. I decided that, instead of setting the cameras timer, running in front of the camera haphazardly (I’m sure there are people who can pull this off brilliantly but I’m the type that would end up with a photo of me mid fall! I didn’t like the idea of that, so I decided a remote was worth getting. It has proved invaluable for thumbnail photos for my YouTube channel too! You'll need to check the compatibility with your camera. I got the Nikon ML-L3.

My next thought turned to which memory card to get. One of the reasons for getting a DSLR was to use if to film video. I knew that this took up a fair bit of memory, particularly to shoot in HD, which is what I wanted. I had also learned from Chanele that the ‘class’ of the memory card is important. The one I had in my point & shoot was a class 2, which was why my camera kept stopping mid record. I don’t understand the tech behind it, but I knew that ‘class 10’ was the recommended choice & I think the highest option. I didn’t know whether I might use my DSLR to film when I was out & about or on holiday, where I wouldn’t necessarily have access to my laptop to download footage. I was also aware that there would be times when I would want to film three YouTube videos back to back, so I decided to go for the highest memory I could get. I went with this  Komputer Bay 64GB Class 10 card.

Next on my mental list was a spare battery - I’d watched a number of YouTube videos where people have to come back a few hours later to finish filming their videos because their battery dies. I knew that, because of my chronic illness, if this were to happen to me I would have loose the motivation & energy to finish filming so would be left with the choice of:

a) finish the next day in a different set of clothes & makeup - not ideal for continuity
b) finish filming the next day & recreate the same makeup look & wear the same clothes - not great with my poor memory. Even with the makeup photos I take of my filming face I can often struggle to recreate the same look!
c) start over

I didn’t like the idea of any of these. I was also aware that if I was at an event or shooting on location for a fashion post (something I want to do soon) I would be stuck if my battery died! So I decided to buy a spare. I keep one battery in the camera & a fully charged one in my camera case (more to come on this). This has proved invaluable for filming - all I have to do is pop the flat one out of the bottom of the camera & replace it with the charged one! It is so slick that it reminds me of a secret agent re-loading their gun mid fire fight. It feels almost like I’m a special agent in an NCIS episode but instead of doing a quick & slick gun reload, I reload the camera! Anyway, enough of my fantasies of solving criminal activity & locking up the baddies…  The battery you will need is going to be different for each camera so do your research. The battery that came with my camera was the Nikon EN-EL14a. I knew this when I ordered it, so bought the spare at the same time.

I decided to buy all these accessories at the same time as my camera. My thought process behind this was that if I’m spending a fair few pennies on a camera, I want to be able to get the best from it straight away. I didn’t want to come across incidences where my camera frustrated me because I couldn’t do something (like carry on filming a video!). I could have gone for a smaller memory card, but the price difference didn’t make it worth doing (more on prices in my ‘Where To Buy’  post, coming soon).

Now to the things I didn’t get initially…

A camera case: I’ve never seen a blogger with a camera case! They always seem to have them round their necks without the lens cap, in the same way tourists do. I’ve always wondered what people do when it rains!?! Surely the camera gets wet??? Surely that’s not good for the camera!?! Up until now I have been using the case from my Grandad’s Minolta SLR. I’m not keen on carrying around an obvious camera case, to my it just screams ‘I’ve got a fancy camera! Come & rob me!’ I know that this again is a very personal thing & that each individual needs to feel comfortable with their own method of transporting their camera. I was out with Chloe, one of my Essex blogger friends & we went into Primark. She picked up one of their bucket style bags for her camera as she wanted to have it close at hand, but not on show. I thought this was a great idea, but didn’t pick one up myself. I worried that, with the style of the bag, it would easily let water in should it rain. To be honest, that style of bag makes me nervous full stop! Just the thought of someone being able to slip their hand into your bag as you go up an escalator or queueing for something makes me stressed!

A coupe of weeks ago I found the ideal solution for me - a Nica bag from TKMaxx. This bag is roomy, quite structured so the camera is less likely to get knocked & has both handles & a shoulder strap. There are also inside pockets big enough for my accessories. I was a very happy blogger! I think I’m most likely to use this bag with the handles as I’ll have a separate handbag which will most likely be a shoulder bad. I wouldn’t combine the two as I would be worried that my everyday essentials & the rummaging I do to find my phone & keys would damage the camera.

Another thing that I would like to pick up is a  spare memory card that will live in my camera bag. I’ve been to a couple of blogger events where friends have downloaded images before leaving the house & left their memory cards in their computers. These resulting in a mad dash to whichever local store they could find that sold memory cards & the need to pay over the odds for these cards! If I were in this situation I think I would go into panic! I wouldn’t know what card to go for! I like to have a little time & breathing spade for such purchased (any purchases really!). As I won’t be going to an event any time soon this is a purchase that can wait.

I really hope you’ve found this useful if you are thinking of buying a DSLR or accessories for one. I would suggest doing your research well in advance to make sure the accessories you buy are the best for your needs & compatible with your DSLR. Buy at a time that works for you too - don’t feel you have to get everything all at once. I will go into detail about the specific accessories I chose in my ‘My Thoughts On My Camera’ post, or even write them their own review!

Tania Xx

Have you seen my Empties #6 video?



At 23 June 2015 at 23:41 , Blogger Rebecca Ellis said...

Great post :) I purchased the NIKON D3200 at the beginning of last year, and luckily my parents bought me some accessories for Christmas... the manfrotto stand being one of them - have to say I'm very pleased with it x


At 25 June 2015 at 08:49 , Blogger Tania Jayne said...

Thanks Rebecca! That was so nice of your parents. Sounds like you love your stand as much as I do! XX


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